Friday, March 16, 2012

New baby chicks!

We lost a couple of our older Hens over the Winter.  I went to Cal Ranch to pick up 3 new ones and ended up coming home with 7!  I now have 12 chickens!  What I was thinking I do not know.  I just could not make up my mind on what kind I wanted ;-/  Luckily they wont be laying eggs for a few months, but when they do we will be getting a dozen eggs a day.  I suppose we will have to start selling fresh eggs :-)
If you are thinking of getting new baby chicks this year for the first time here are a few tips that I have learned.

1. Make sure you have a heat lamp.  It was so cute yesterday after we brought the new chicks home and put them in the bin when we added the heat lamp and turned it on they feel asleep almost immidately!
2. Make sure you have a special chick feed.
3. They also need plenty of water
4. It is best to get feeders and water containers especially for chicks.
5. get a bail of straw (not hay) for bedding.
6. Make sure you have a suitable coop to transfer them in when they are old enough.  You can buy a coop, but it is much cheaper to make your own.  If you are turning a rabbit hutch or something like that into a chicken coop make sure you have a a roosting pole for them to sit on.  At dusk every night they love to go in their coop and hop onto their roosting pole and fall asleep.
7. Also make sure you have a chicken run attached to your coop.  Chickens do not enjoy just sitting in their coop all the time.  they like to get out and walk and scratch around. We turned an old dog run we were not using into a chicken run.
8. The more you handle your chicks the more they get to know you and become tame and social.  But when they are new babies you don't want to handle them too much.  picking them up and petting their little heads a couple of times a day should be enough.
Once they are old enough you will want to get them feed that is more suitable for an older chicken.  In the summer they eat  bugs and stuff so you want a summer feed that has less protein in it, but in the winter when they have less opportunity for protein you will need a winter feed that had protein added.
9.  Make sure you clean out old straw and replace with fresh straw every few days.  the old straw is great in compost.  Chicken poop is a great fertilizer, but it can burn your plants if it is to fresh.  I just had mine to my compost bin and let it cook and breakdown with every thing else.
10.  Have fun with your chickens they really are social animals and they have personalities too :-) We like to pick ours up once in awhile even after they are big and just pet them. they love it!
11. Let them out a couple of times a day to grass feed and find bugs and stuff.  I let mine out first thing in the morning and let them peck around for a while and then I feed them their feed and water which gets them all to come back running to their coop with no trouble because they want their food.  then I let them out again in the evening and they go back in their coop on their own to roost.

If you have any other questions that I did not cover just contact me :-)

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